I clearly remember being in the conference room thinking What the hell are we doing?
Our CEO just finished a rant on why we should be paid well for the products and services we provide. The crescendo moment came when he railed against a customer who was behind in payment. They were withholding payment because the products and services we provided weren’t working as advertised.
A fact we didn’t deny.
Instead of falling on our sword and doing whatever could be done to fix the problem, we blamed the customer for not paying as agreed and threatened to withhold support.
Chicken and egg.
We didn’t deliver as promised — unwittingly, not intentionally. And the customer didn’t pay as agreed — hey, it didn’t work.
The thing that bothered me was our attitude. The conversation rant didn’t consider our customer’s view of the world. We ignored their perspective of things and instead of empathy, we vilified their position and postured.
Eventually, we did the right thing. But should have acted sooner — my opinion.
Seth Godin offers some thoughts on how you can win the fight, lose the customer. The punchline is If someone thinks they’re unhappy, then you know what? They are.
Sage advice on keeping a customer — assuming that’s what you want to do.